Good relationship with BM destroyed by setting boundaries…where do I go from here?
My DH and BM were dating for a few weeks and then broke up. DH and I were good friends at the time and after their break up we started dating and then married. BM came around a few months later and said she was pregnant. We had moved out of state and attempted to keep contact. Finally after years of drama and a paternity test we took BM to court and got visitation rights when SD was 3½ .
Since then I have mediated between DH and BM (since they could never get along) and have spent the last 4 years catering to and babying BM. Loaning her money, being her “best friend”, listening to al her problems, getting her through a divorce and EVEN allowing her and her three children (only the oldest one is my DH’s) to LIVE WITH ME for 8 months while my DH was away for work. They moved out of state to come and start a new life with me and as long as I paid for everything and watched all her children for her she was HAPPY.
I was so blinded by my need to have my “perfect blended family” that I allowed her to use and manipulate me and guilt me into doing everything for her…including watching her children so she could go to the bar and go sleep with random men. I was also working full time and had the stress of not having DH around to help. I finally had a breakdown and told her that I couldn’t do it anymore. I was overwhelmed and tired and she needed to pull her weight and get a full time job and start taking care of her kids. She moved out (with borrowed money from me) and continued to guilt me into watching her kids and using my SD as “blackmail”. I finally cut off all financial help (except child support) and told her I would no longer watch her two sons and I would only care for my SD. She freaked out and decided to move back to her home state with all the kids. I was sad because all this was to try and get my SD closer to my DH but KNEW she was threatening this to get me to help her again. I held my ground and smoothed things out.
I loaned her money AGAIN to move back to her home state and even sold her car for her after she left…but I firmly told her that NO MORE MONEY help because it was ruining our “relationship”. She agreed but less than a week later she was asking for more loans. I said no and she flew off the handle and sent emails of hateful things and said that she wouldn’t allow SD age 8 to come for summer visits and that its all my fault because I “screwed her and SD over so bad and ruined DH relationship with them”. I did not reply to any of the hateful emails and have had no contact with her since, except calling and speaking with SD on her Birthday a month ago.
Im afraid to call often because I don’t want to get sucked back in to the CRAZINESS and don’t feel Im strong enough to withstand her manipulations. My DH has said to cut off all communication and let him deal with it when he gets home in December. But I always feel bad for not having contact with SD and for possibly ruining a good thing? Prior to all of this we were so close and I was involved in every detail of SD life but am beginning to see that it was all a facade and that our “friendship” was a one way street.
So after my loooong explanation (heehee) here is what I need help with:
WHAT DO I DO NOW???
Do I just let DH handle it when he gets home (and he is super supportive of me and my feelings)?
Do I try and have contact with SD through phone or mail?
Should I try and make amends with BM? I know that I had NO boundaries before but what kind of boundaries should I have?
Am I a bad person for cutting them all off and living my own life and working on ME for the next few months?
How do I handle things when DH and BM communicate and they fight as usual and she withholds SD?
Sorry so long and scattered but I have no idea what to do. All I know is what I did before benefitted NO ONE except the BM. Any help is appreciated!!!! Thank you!!! Mibi, Hawaii
CATHRYN’S REPLY TO MIBI:
Dear Mibi, You sure have been through a lot. I’m so sorry to hear about your situation. There’s much to say, so I’ll jump right in:
When you filled in the form, you wrote that you had a “good” relationship with this Bio-mom. I’m hoping that you now see that she took advantage of your kindness and eagerness to be involved BIG TIME. It was indeed good for her, but not so much for you. She was very disrespectful of you and your generosity. You summed it up well by saying you realize now it was a one-way, crazy-making street. She held you hostage with the threat of removing your SD. That’s unfair and I’m glad you are seeing the situation in this new light.
From what you’ve written, this is a case of a narcissist doing her thing to get everything she wants for nothing in return. One fast way for you to learn so much about this is to get yourself a copy of the book, “The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists” by Eleanor Payson ASAP! It’s going to help you see things so clearly and realize very specifically that you’re not the crazy one, you’re just someone vulnerable to the manipulation of a narcissist. It will give you tips on not falling prey to her tactics again. You didn’t do anything wrong-you were used and that hurts! The good news it’s just that you’re about to discover how to never allow another person to take advantage of you in this way again.
When/if you read this book, you may be surprised to learn, as I did 8 months ago, that the reason many of us are fooled/lulled/drawn into continued interactions with these narcissistic women, is because we were raised by one or more narcissistic parents. It was a big shock to my system yet it explained so very much about my situation. I feel you will benefit in many ways by reading this book.
Secondly, your questions. I’ve copied them here so I can reply to each one:
WHAT DO I DO NOW??? Short answer, trust your DH’s advice, read the book and spend this time helping yourself recover from all you’ve been through so you can feel like your energetic, loving, happy well self when your DH returns in Dec.
Do I just let DH handle it when he gets home (and he is super supportive of me and my feelings)? That sounds good to me. You have lots to do (see above)
Do I try and have contact with SD through phone or mail? If you think you can do that without it causing HER any punishing treatment from her mom, I would reach to let you know you are still thinking of her and will see her when her Dad gets home. I’d talk with your DH and see what he thinks. She’s old enough to miss you and yet still too young to not be impacted by her mom’s cruelty. As you’ll learn Narcissists do not care about their impact on others, not even how they impact their own kids. So, you know this little girl best. Trust your instincts and see what kind of options you and your DH can come up with.
Should I try and make amends with BM? I can’t tell you what to do. I’m not seeing any benefit for you, except access to your SD. Right now, she’s holding her hostage, using her as a pawn for money. If I were you, I’d stay far, far away until you fully understand about her personality type and feel solid in your plan w/DH.
I know that I had NO boundaries before but what kind of boundaries should I have? Narcissists honor no one’s boundaries. They change the rules to fit their needs, their word means very little (or nothing) if their needs change, their words change. Perhaps that will change when your hubby is home and around but for now, I’d suggest you get yourself, healed from the trauma she’s put you through and feeling well strong and informed before you re-connect. Now there’s a part of you who’s going to want to reconnect. That’s the part of you, who really needs to read that book as somewhere in your childhood, you were programmed to give to others with no regard for your needs and until you become aware of that conditioning, there’s going to be an unconscious drive to connect with the bio-mom because it is so familiar. Are there any bells going off as you think about this? I hope so. It’ll help you resist the well-worm path of giving up anything you have to connect with another. I know this pattern, I lived it for 55 years. I also know you can change it!
Am I a bad person for cutting them all off and living my own life and working on ME for the next few months? Nope, To me, it means you’ve reached your limit and you’re a wise, strong, self-respecting person who’s awakened as if from a “spell” and you’re now going to give yourself what you need. You’re going to let your DH come back and take responsibility for his daughter’s situation. You’ve been amazing so far and all that love is not lost.
How do I handle things when DH and BM communicate and they fight as usual and she withholds SD? You can stay focused on your, your relationship with your DH and trust that they will figure it out. The bio-mom is going to pull out all the stops. She’s going to say, do whatever it takes to get what she wants. She’s going to act like a taker-junkie. If someone stops letting her take, she freaks out as another way to avoid being responsible for herself and her kids. She sounds like a taker, a user, a blamer and I’m so sorry for all the hurt she’s caused you along the way. As you wake up more and more to how she’s mistreated you, there’s going to be lots of anger, along with the hurt. Please get that out of your body in healthy ways-rant, run, write, rage with a trusted friend, her on the BB, whatever you need to do so you can release it. Use the new found energy to mobilize your self-care strategy and plan for a glorious reunion with your DH in Dec.
Again, you’ve been wonderful to your SD and to her bio-mom. It’s just time to close down the one-way street and spend time doing for you! You’re on the verge of freedom from this woman (and any other narcissists in your past). Work together with your DH on the best ways to support your SD during these couple of months and stick to our guns. You deserve to be in relationships that are respectful, joyful two way streets. It’s going to be a new world for you and that’s very exciting. Be patient with yourself as you read about and begin to understand what’s happened in this relationship. Please join our site Bulletin Board for on-going support in your process. Good Luck. There is a lot of relief ahead for you.
My Best Wishes on your journey, Cathryn
REPLY FROM MIBI “HAWAIISTEPMOM”
Thank you so much Cathryn!!!!!!!!!!! You have no idea what relief and freedom I felt from grief and guilt over this situation. I printed off your reply and am putting a copy on my nightstand an din my purse so if I ever start feeling down or like I did the wrong thin Im goign to read it. I already ordered the book off of amazon and it should be here soon! It was as if you had lived in my house the last few years and knew exactly who my bio mom was! IT all makes so much sense now about the Narcissitic thing and I cant wait to read the book. I registered to be added to the forums and am awaiting activation. Thank you thank you thank you…May God bless you for your service and all the comfort and help you are bringing to women like me across the country!!!!!!! Love and Aloha, Mibi (“hawaiiStepmom”)